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Microsoft – Amateur Hour At Office 2007

The “Blog for Notebooks” affair was one thing. The way Microsoft is handling the current roll-out of the Microsoft Office Beta and Microsoft Office trial is nothing short of a joke.

I downloaded the beta edition. And I understand what beta code is and means. It worked great. Unlike many reviewers I really like what they have done with Office 2007. It’s a vast improvement.

Then I hit problem number one – As soon as Microsoft updates your system using it’s fancy “Live” software, it kills the beta. You need to go through the extruciating process of re-downloading the software. It’s a bit like being mid-way through the premiere of a good movie and someone hitting restart. Ok, I’ll put up with that.

Eventually the beta was killed all together by the trial edition. For some reason this won’t install correctly on my system. I’m stuck in a perpetual registration loop. So, the software won’t work.

No problems, I don’t mind paying for a bit of help with installing the software – I’m one of those bloggers that planned to review it without getting a notebook. But no luck there. Tech support forwards me to the product registration team who forwards me to tech support and around and around we go until some chap decides to come clean and tell me that nobody can actually help me bacuse there is no support for this product. So, having unleashed it on the unwitting public they aren’t supporting it. Classic.

No problems, I’ll just download the file conversion software. Ummm, not really. You see, it mostly works but doesn’t work with all Excel files. Microsoft in effect leaves the beta tester and trial user stranded.

I was expecting all the normal hassles from beta software. Trial software is a different gig – that’s like test driving a car. So, now I’ve gone from a fan to one pissed-off and frustruated reviewer/user – not because of the product, but because of the company. I wonder if anyone up there actually walks in the customers shoes.

Here’s a little tip. Rather than squandering your shareholders ample resources on free notebooks, how about actually communicating with your beta and trail users? Why not listen to them – and how they are experiencing the product.

And hey, rather than pimping your software by packing it in fancy notebooks and handing it out how about actually using the community’s experience, however lousy it might be, to improve the product before you ship it to millions of unwitting customers.

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